Dec 17, 2010
Like most of you, every Christmas I'm on the hunt for a fun handmade gift to make. I scour the Internet (and my memory) for any ideas that are unique, easy, cute and fairly inexpensive. Remember last year's Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti? Well - I wasn't thrilled about spending hours in the kitchen- so I threw baking out the window this year. :)
This year I actually stole an idea from a friend (thanks Britt!). Brittany gave me some DIY Vanilla Extract last year for Christmas and I LOVED it! I knew I just had to make it for all of my friends this year. Oh - and I also referenced this blog post on Bethany Actually.
This is what I did.
First I bought 20 4-oz Clear Boston Round Bottles from Specialty Bottles and a 1/2 lb pack of Organic Vanilla Beans from Saffron.com (vanilla beans are WAY cheaper online BTW). 1/2 lb is roughly 45 beans. I also sent the hubby to the store to pick up Svedka Vodka (which supposedly is great for bringing out the vanilla flavor). For 20 bottles we bought 1 - 1.75 liter bottle and 1 - 750 ml bottle.
Then we got started.
First you'll need to cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and then crosswise and divide them among the bottles. I used 2 1/2 beans for each bottle.
Then pull out your funnel and pour roughly 1/2 cup of vodka into each container.
Here's what they looked like right after completion.
And to show the steeping effect - here are the bottles 4 days later. The vodka had gone from clear to a pretty amber color. Ideally the vanilla should steep for at least a month, till the vanilla is a dark brown. The longer it steeps the stronger the vanilla flavor.
Then I made cute little labels for each Vanilla and noted on the bottom of each label that the vanilla would be best used after January 5th, 2011 (because I made them on the 5th of Dec).
Mailing was actually pretty easy too - just wrap each bottle in bubble wrap nice and tight and place in a box with a decent amount of stuffing.
That's it!!! Merry Christmas!